August 3

Can Nopal Cactus Help With Weight Loss? | Studies, Evidence, and FACTS


After a recent review of Leanbean, a friend pointed out to me that not everyone is familiar with all of its ingredients. After writing an article describing Glucomannan, I realized that the same could hold true for the powerful fat-burner PhenQ. Just because I’m aware of the potency of the Nopal Cactus in it, doesn’t mean everyone else is!

So here’s a quick fact sheet on this amazing, fibrous plant. It’s not only a staple of indigenous peoples, prized for its resilience in harsh conditions, it’s also an amazing bit of kit for weight loss! So let’s dive in.

Fast Facts:

  • Nopal Cactus is one of the most iconic plants of Mexico, and has been used in traditional cuisine for centuries, eaten raw and cooked.
  • Aside from its unique flavor profile, Nopal is a great source of minerals, and importantly for our purposes, fiber.
  • The fiber in Nopal helps us feel more full after meals, and for longer periods of time–reducing snacking and helping with portion control.
  • Lastly, fiber has known metabolic benefits, including reducing blood sugar and fat absorption. 

What is Nopal Cactus?

We’ve already covered that it’s a cactus. But how does that work for food? If you already know that cacti are classified as succulents, then this will make more sense. Essentially, after you strip off the coarse, spiny outer layer, Nopal Cactus has a soft, fleshy interior mostly composed of water.

Nopal Cactus is incredibly nutritious compared to other cacti species, with its nutrient content increasing with age. For a four month old cactus, the breakdown for 550 grams is:

  • 23.3 grams of fiber
  • 20% Daily Value of Manganese
  • 13% DV of Vitamin C
  • And 14% DV of Calcium;
  • All with only 0.06% net carbs by weight.

That means you’re getting a massive amount of fiber with almost no other carbohydrates. Compare that to a serving of wheat bread, which has less than 2 grams of fiber and 13 total Carbs.

How Nopal Cactus Works for Weight Loss

Nopal cactus is used in herbal remedies that run the gamut from wounds to digestive issues. It’s used in teas, jams, juices, and eaten whole. For this piece, we’ll only focus on how Nopal can help you lose weight. 

Reduced Fat Absorption

This benefit and the next, Better Metabolism, are a direct result of Nopal’s high Fiber to Carb ratio. Fiber in our digestive tract literally binds to fat cells that we’ve ingested, meaning we absorb less of them. It’s no magic bullet–we can’t eat a Nopal Cactus and then a pound of lard. But it does help when we’re dieting and exercising.

That’s because when we’re restricting our calories and increasing our workouts at the same time, we raise our total energy consumption. And when that happens our bodies want to absorb more calories that we do eat. That’s why fiber consumption is one of the leading indicators of whether someone can stick to a diet and exercise routine.

Too long, didn’t read? You’re statistically more likely to achieve your diet and fitness goals when you eat more fiber. 

Better Metabolism

Okay, so you won’t absorb as much fat, but what about the sugars? Many of you already know, but sugar intake leads to more weight gain than fat. Well, Nopal Cactus helps us there, too, in a couple of ways.

The first is that fiber can actively lower your blood sugar. That’s right. And less blood sugar means a better insulin response. So when your insulin drops, it will trigger immediate fat burning

All of which means a better, faster metabolism. And the numbers are already in. A very recent study of Nopal Cactus in obese women found a higher metabolic rate in participants across the study after just 30 days!

Rest and Rebound

Lastly, we have to talk about rest. It’s almost blasphemy to talk about resting in today’s go-go-go world, but quality rest is essential to weight loss, with one study showing it increased success by 33%!

That’s where Nopal has a double benefit. First, by helping us feel more full, Nopal Cactus decreases the chances of waking and snacking, a key indicator of weight gain. Second, Nopal is a great source of Magnesium, which we’ve research has shown can lead to more and better quality sleep.

Nopal Cactus in Your Meal Planning

There are several ways to prepare Nopal Cactus, as we’ve already discussed. But it can be difficult and expensive to source. If you don’t have a Mexican food market nearby, it can be downright impossible.

Luckily, there is a much easier and more convenient way to get Nopal into your routine–supplements. In fact, the single best-rated weight loss supplement I’ve ever encountered, PhenQ, has a whopping 40 mg of Nopal per serving. 

Last Word

Nopal Cactus really is a great tool in your bag for losing weight, especially long term. Not only do its benefits stack, but studies spanning 30 days or more really show the positive outcomes from using this great fiber. And, what’s more, if you can find it in a supplement with other weight loss ingredients, you’re only going to see more loss of weight and fat. 

So, whether you’re eating some amazing Mexican cuisine, or simply finding a new favorite supplement, make sure you’re getting more Nopal in your day!


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